Let me start off right now by confessing the following:
- My son was breastfed until he was 18 months old.
- I used mostly cloth diapers
- He wasn’t potty trained until he was 2.5
- He screamed for three long colicky months
- He watches Disney movies
- He watches TV
- I bribe him frequently with rice pudding, chocolate and cucumbers
- My kid frequently tells me he ‘ doesn’t like’ food and refuses to eat it and will then try eight new foods in a week and decide he loves them all
- He eats dairy, gluten and sugar. Sometimes all at the same time
- He has plastic toys
- He knows how to use our iPad and my iPhone
- We have pets
- We live in a condo
- He did not sleep in his own bed until he was over a year old.
- He goes to daycare three days a week
These are all things that I have been judged for. Loudly and pointedly judged for.
Not by parenting professionals…not by random strangers. But by my friends. My mom friends.
“you know, breastfeeding doesn’t promote weight loss”…”I can’t believe you didn’t breastfeed him until he was two!”…”I can’t believe you deal with all that poo”…”I can’t believe he’s not always in cloth!”…”Colic is a myth. It’s probably your diet.”…“MY child was potty trained when she was five months old”…”MY child will never see Disney”…”MY child has never watched TV except for educational programming”…”MY child eats everything”…”MY child is totally organic, vegan and holistic”…”MY child never plays with plastic”…”MY child has never seen technology”…”I can’t believe you let him sleep in your bed”….”MY child slept in the family bed until he was five”…”A child really needs a house, not an apartment”….”Pets cause allergies”…”How can you leave him at daycare? ”…”Really? You don’t work full time?”
I’ve said it before, and I will say it again. Fuck. Right. Off.
When I was pregnant, I was told frequently about the lovely community of moms that would welcome me with open arms. A sisterhood of the belly.
I remember sobbing in the dark, holding my screaming child at four in the morning. I had tried letting him cry it out, burping him, soothing him and drugging him and nothing worked. And I was sobbing because three separate mom friends had told me what I was doing wrong and why he was so upset, so all of this must be my fault.
Because this is a competition right? Who can be the better mom? Who has the better kid?
I will freely admit that I judge. A lot. I judge your choices from food to clothing to car seat to stroller to toys to TV. I judge it ALL. I judge your spouses, your partners, your shoes (life is seriously too short for ugly ass shoes) your car and yes, your kid. But I try REALLY hard to keep that shit to myself. Unless you ask me. And unless it involves your shoes. Specifically Crocs. Crocs are nasty.
To be fair, I’m reasonably certain that most of my friends didn’t know that I was feeling judged by them. They probably thought they were being helpful, offering their ‘advice’. Giving me their books (the Baby Whisperer and I are not friends) and DVD’s and examples of their genius children. And I say this to all I know and love…if you have felt judged by me, I am genuinely sorry. I know how it feels…if feels like 400 different sorts of ass.
Take a note moms: we all do it differently. All of us. No one is right…no one is wrong (well…actually you all are because my child and I are perfect, but I’ll let it slide). All the parenting books in the world cannot tell you how to raise YOUR CHILD. They can help…provide advice and assistance and moments of inspiration and illumination, but when it comes right down to it, it’s all what works best for you and your kid. As long as no one is bleeding profusely or starving and your kid isn’t being a giant flaming asshole, you’ve done a good job. You do it your way, and I’ll do it my way…and unless I ask you for advice, keep your comments to yourself. And I promise to do the same.
Unless you are wearing Crocs…then the gloves are off.